Please explain how Buddhism influenced art and architecture in Thailand and Burma. Please provide specific examples.
Hi and thank you for using Brainmass.
If there is one region and one country I am most fascinated with - it is Southeast Asia and Thailand. I have taken up part of post-grad studies in Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and I have been fortunate to have studied their architecture, art, language, cuisine, literature - their cultural diversity - through firsthand experience. I am excited to share that I will be flying to the region to witness the fascinating Water Festival - known as Songkran. Studying cultures is a wonderful experience - it provides you insight into the multitude of people, beliefs and practices that the world contains and their dynamism and depth rewards those who take a deeper look. Now, I would normally provide an academic format to students but since this is something that you wish to 'work-off' from, I will provide you insight from an informal viewpoint and direct you to materials online that you can easily access.
First let's talk about Buddhism as practiced in both Thailand and Myanmar. It is a form called Theravada - the oldest surviving Buddhist branch. It means 'teaching of the elders' in Sanskrit. This has its origins in 250 BCE under the 3rd Buddhist Council through the Indian Emperor Ashoka. As you know, Buddhism stems from Hinduism when Siddhartha Gautama, a Hindu Prince, forsook the riches of life and the desires of the flesh to become the first Buddha - an 'enlightened one' who lived for a spiritual life to end suffering and misery. It was King Mongkut of Siam (Old name of Thailand) in 1851 who officially institutionalized Theravada Buddhism as the country's main ...
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